In order for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) to take off, there needs to be the refuelling infrastructure in place to support them. To justify the infrastructure, though, there must be enough FCEVs on the road. It is this chicken-and-egg scenario that the Hydrogen For Innovative Vehicles (HyFive) project seeks to help solve.

HyFive is a pan-European project set up to roll-out both FCEVs and the required refueling infrastructure. The project has 15 partner carmakers, including BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai and Toyota, who plan to deploy 185 FCEVs between them. In addition, it will see the creation of hydrogen refueling station clusters in three parts of Europe linked with 12 existing stations to support these vehicles.

The project is designed so as to allow its partner carmakers to validate the performance of their FCEVs on European roads, while also preparing the market, or laying the foundations, for the commercial introduction of the vehicles in the near future.

Danish Hydrogen Fuel, OMV and ITM Power are the three firms rolling out refueling stations in the various places across the continent as part of HyFive. The first such facility in London, UK, has this week been officially launched by ITM Power. It is located at the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington and can be used for both commercial and private FCEVs.

The station at Teddington is the first of three HyFive refueling stations, which are all part of a wider UK government-backed plan to open 12 by the end of the year. In addition, ITM says it is planning to roll-out a further two hydrogen refueling stations in the UK by the end of the year as part of a separate H2ME scheme. All stations are electrolyser-based, meaning hydrogen is produced on-site rather than delivered.

To coincide with the launch, the UK government has announced a £2 million (US$3 million) fund to further support the roll-out of FCEVs in public and private sector fleets. The FCEV Fleet Support Scheme will reportedly allow local authorities, health trusts, police forces, fire brigades and private companies to bid for funding to add FCEVs to their fleets and could put an extra 100 of the vehicles on UK roads by early next year. The overall goal of the UK government is to make nearly every vehicle in the country zero-emission by 2050.

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